Paul Theroux swings hard at "complacent and lazy minds" in the Financial Times today as he writes, "The Places in Between." He forcefully articulates a sort of adventure tourism that variously makes use of deception ( A Modern Pilgrim in Mecca ), risk and physical endurance ( Through the Dark Continent ), and the power of will (Full Tilt). He also presents his philosophy of what makes for a good travel book:
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He closes that section where he presents his personal preference for literature of the ordeal with the line about its authors, "These people are suffering for us.""The fact that there are far fewer foreign correspondents makes the traveller more necessary as a witness and a reporter...In my opinion, the best of travel, and of travel writing - ancient or modern - is a species of trespass combined with true discovery, the wanderer surprised and bringing back news of the outer world...I have a love for reading about a really difficult trip, even better an ordeal. Such books, written with skill and appropriate detail, will always find a public, because they combine travel with problem solving and endurance, and that I suppose is the human condition."
I wonder, how much of the celebratory attention given to travel by PwD derives from this idea of vicarious redemption?
How much of the "discovery through trespass" by PwD actually persists in consciousness beyond moments of armchair encounters with our travel writing?
In a world that multiplies suffering by overlooking Universal Design there is a Mount Everest of "suffering because of us" to be summitted in the daily Exclusion-by-Design of the status quo. The true adventure travel is, as Theroux's title suggests, in the places in between - forays bridging the exotic and the mundane. There is redemption through attention to inclusion.